The Ottumwa Courier


July 13, 2013

The play's the thing

What a disappointment to read in the Courier that Ottumwa school district officials won’t let high school drama students perform “The Laramie Project” play.

Their reasoning is that it is not a family-oriented play and that OHS students should be performing productions good for the whole family.

I do not agree with that decision. Children can see so much violence in their daily lives from television and movies. Look at what tops the box office: Malevolent machines attacking, killing, maiming, murdering, many under the guise of cartoon characters or creative creations. Kids flock to these movies. And to similar shows on television.

Not everything has to be kid-friendly.

High school drama students want to do their best performances, as do all the athletic and arts competitors. Can you hear Mr. Schneider, years ago, telling his singers — oh, we won’t sing that song, it’s too hard. Or a football coach telling players, we won’t play as hard as we can.

Many years ago, I attended an OHS drama production of “Rebel Without A Cause,” which also was questioned by school officials. But it was performed in an excellent manner.

And some former school board members will remember when we fought a handful of parents wanting to ban a book from the schools’ libraries. The book was not banned.

“The Laramie Project” is about bullying, about being gay, about murder. Of course it isn’t suitable for young children to watch. My thought is, you offer a tough play like that and then two or three others of a lighter nature during the school year.

Let the kids do their thing. Just as we celebrate OHS alumni who find success in sports, in music, in art, let us not deny that opportunity to students who may pursue an acting career.

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